Michelle Long is the founding Executive Director of BALLE: Be a Localist, a growing network of 125,000+ community entrepreneurs, local investors and foundations. Founded in 2001, BALLE’s purpose is to nurture and curate the emergence of a new economy – one that will gradually displace our destructive and failing economy with a system that supports the health, prosperity, and happiness for all people and regenerates the vital ecosystems upon which our economy depends. With a focus on real change within a generation, BALLE works to identify and connect pioneering leaders, spread solutions, and attract investment toward local economies. Amongst the transformative communities of practice that BALLE hosts are a Local Economy Funders Circle, the Community Foundation Circle, and the nation’s only Fellowship program dedicated to cultivating the emergence of a new economy. Previously Michelle was the founding executive director of Sustainable Connections, an organization that prompted NPR Marketplace to call Bellingham, WA, the “epicenter of a new economic model.” A regular keynote speaker, she is also the co-author of Local First: A How-to Guide, and an advisor to the Schumacher Center for New Economics. Michelle was named one of the West Coast’s “top five leading ladies of sustainability” by the Sustainable Industries Journal, and in 2014 was named one of The Purpose Economy 100 for North America.